Speed and Efficiency:
Solvent printers (such as the Roland XJ640, and the) are generally faster than water based (such as the Epson Stylus Pro 9880, Epson Stylus Pro 9800, Epson 7800, and Epson 4800) at producing giclee prints. Usually 25-50% more efficient. Solvent printing is geared more for production and is an industrial type machine. Commercial printer businesses predominately use solvent printing machines.
These printers are designed to print wide rolls like 64″ and above. They also have wider in diameter and higher in weight media capacity.
Cost of Ownership and Consumables:
Solvent printing technology is designed every day, long-term high volume production runs. Their built to last, total workhorses! I know of companies that have the same machines in production for over 8 years and going.
You will not have to upgrade or update your hardware every few years like most aqueous technology. Solvent inks cost 50-75% LESS than water based ink, this is a substantial savings considering it’s the most expensive consumable you purchase! Inkjet media like canvas and paper is one more cost savings component. This varies of course with the quality of the substrate, and if there’s an inkjet coating layer applied to the base. Solvent ink does not require an inkjet receptive coating, but it will indefinitely improve the output.
No Coating Saves Time and Money:
There’s no top-coating (giclee varnish or giclee coating) necessary with solvent inks – this is the most important advantage solvent inks have over water based! You print onto canvas, you wrap your canvas prints, you ship the canvas prints. There’s no post treatment with top-coating canvas prints. What does this mean to you? You eliminate a huge step of production, perhaps the longest step if you include lamination dry time for every canvas print.
And of course the waste incurred on canvas with coating rejects, or the trial and error with rolling and spraying liquid laminates. Your turnaround will be cut by 50% opposed to water based printing on canvas. Then there’s the actual cost of the coating chemistry itself, ranges from $30-$110 per container. Finally, the cost of labor(s) that are needed to apply the canvas varnish. This is a big expense that varies from shop to shop but without a doubt adds up over time.